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 Post subject: Topaz Labs DeNoise 4
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 10:28 am 
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Hi folks,

After reading this morning that Topaz Labs have released DeNoise 4, a PhotoShop plug-in, I decided to give it a whirl and I'm pleased to say it does what it says on the tin as I was able to take an early morning landscape, shot at ISO 200 with my PowerShot G10, and successfully both reduce the image noise with DeNoise and then recover the original detail by applying some extra sharpening with PhotoShop without adversely affecting the noise reduction. I've only just started to learn how to get the best from it but I was sufficiently impressed that I parted with $50 for a copy (the price goes up to $80 at the end of the month). Best of all you don't have to take my word for it as you can "try before you buy".

There are certainly plenty of other solutions out there but to pique your interest here are a before and after image straight from the manufacturer's site to demonstrate a best case scenario for the software:
    Image
Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 11:48 am 
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Thanks for the news. Shall have to try that when I get home. Having bought Neat Image in the past, of course the question for me is how do they compare?

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
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3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 12:04 pm 
Pretty good result,considering the high amount of noise.
Nevertheless,I for one would use noise reduction only for large prints.


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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 5:04 pm 
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Just playing with it now... wow, it's slow. Must be doing some serious processing there. I noticed it uses up to 2 of my cores. I think, per image, it's even slower than DxO doing a raw convert with all the corrections on!

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 6:09 pm 
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Some initial impressions:

Test case 1: ISO3200 jpeg from 50D
Comparing Topaz DeNoise 4 with jpeg light noise preset against Neat Image on "remove half noise" setting. There is very little in it when pixel peeping. Sharpness is about the same, but I think Topaz has the slight edge. Neat Image has slightly more smoothing particularly of lower frequency noise at these settings, but even then Topaz removes more chroma noise. Topaz does seem a little better at suppressing bright spots. Zooming out to 50% view, neither have successfully removed very low frequency colour blotching.

Test case 2: ISO12800 jpeg from 50D
Normally I wouldn't consider this setting worth using, but is there noise reduction good enough to change my opinion? I tried all 3 settings of Topaz on this one, light, moderate and high. I kept Neat Image on half noise removal setting. First thing that strikes is Neat Image doesn't cope with bright pixels at all. There's red and white spots all over after processing. Topaz does tackle them. Other than that, in detail kept, NI "half" is about same as Topaz "light". NI has a finer noise quality which to me looks better than the coarser noise of Topaz in this setting. The higher settings progressively clears this up more, but smears the details more too. Here I'd give Topaz the advantage again since it deals with the bright specks better than NI. I tried varying the settings in NI but they were not able to get rid of the bright specks. If anything, they stand out more with the other noise removed!

On the user interface, the Topaz preview is pretty slow to calculate even on a small area. While it is calculating, you can't do anything. So if it pops up with an area and you want to move, you have to wait... and wait... switching to 100% view (default was 200%) and clicking maximise window was a bad idea in that case!

My initial conclusion is that for these high to extreme noise conditions, Topaz does seem to have a slight image quality edge over Neat Image, although not enough to make a switch if you already own NI. More of a concern for my operating style is the speed. It takes quite a long time to process previews and the final image. That to me is bad enough to be a deal breaker even if it could offer a revolutionary improvement in image quality.

Disclaimers should apply: this was a test on camera jpeg, raw results may vary significantly. I could have played about with settings some more and got better results with either.

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 7:49 pm 
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Hi popo,

Thanks for the tests. My own trial this morning was with a 14.7MP PSD file (derived from a 16 bit TIFF) and I'd certainly echo your concern about the speed both in preview and final conversion when processing on my i7 920 CPU. But as I usually shoot at low ISO anyway my need for any noise reduction over and above that provided by Canon's DPP in conjunction with Adobe Camera Raw will only be occasional so DeNoise won't be part of my regular workflow. But it's good to have it in reserve when an image needs rescuing.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 8:20 pm 
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I wonder how it compares to Lightroom's noise conversion? I'm talking about the one in the beta 2 of version 3, of course.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 8:50 pm 
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I didn't extensively test the new Adobe converter, but to me it looks like it was tuned more to give pleasing fine grain noise as opposed to clean images the noise reducing software is targeting. If you really want to know then best thing to do is try it out :)

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 10:31 pm 
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Well, I did try out the adobe NR and boy was I impressed. I can't give you a solid result, but according to my standards, a ISO 3200 shot still looked acceptable.

And that's from my 6 year old D2H.

I'm wowed, really. next-up: denoise!

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